This black colored crystal type of tiny seeds have pleasant aroma, and it is costliest flavoured spice in the world. This is called Vanilin hidden inside the pod of vanilla. Now its market value is arround Rs. 30000per Kg . Vanilla is the creeper spice crop, suitable to grow in non temperate areas. This creeper produce bunches of flower in its maturity stage. If we pollinate artificially it will produce green vanilla beans. This green beans can mature in 5-6 months of its growth. After harvest, it produce a pleasant aroma which is called natural Vanilla, which all over the world we are using for vanilla flavour.
Vanilla is native to Mexico. It is the main crop in Madagaskar, Java, Mauritious, Zanjibar, Brezil, Jamaica, Guatemala and West Indies countries. It was introduced to India in 18th century to Kerala.
Story of Indian Vanilla:
- Decade back In India, Vanilla crop celebrated its glory.
- At that time it is the prestigious crop in South Indian states.
- Its planting materials also sold at the price of Rs. 100-150 per metre.
- Some farmers earn crore of income by selling beans and planting materials.
- Because of unknown reason its price and demand came down.
- Farmers neglected crop, automatically most of the planting materials infected to diseases.
- After price slash farmers uprooted almost all vines.
- Some people kept it aside. There also the vines are survived.
- Now again its glory came. From last 4 years its demand increased and price again reached to 25,000 above.
- Few farmers kept their old stock, they get good price also.
- Now people again showing interest in cultivating this.
- Indian Institute Spice Research Institute IISR and many other institutes are taken the research activity on this crop.
What is Vanilla:
- Vanilla is the climbing vine. It is orchid type of plant, having alternate phyllotaxy leaves.
- Every leaf axial there is one bud for vegetative growth or flowering.
- This vine can climb to any support upto 4-8 meters also.
- Winter is the season of its flowering. Normally it initiates flower buds in few buds.
- If there is a cold and dry weather condition, flowering percentage is more.
- If we provide stress after monsoon more flower buds emerges.
- The cultivation technique of this crop is easy. It will grow easily in organic rich media.
- It requires support to grow upwards.
- For flower initiation cutting the top portion of vine around a feet and downward hanging of vines.
- In this crop flower setting takes place only by artificial pollination.
- For this cultural practice we have to minimize the height of plant maximum of 6 feet.
- By hanging the vines maximum auxin accumulation takes place and it initiate flower buds instead of vegetative buds.
- After flower bud emergence all cultivation practices are as usual.
- After the emergence of flower bud 15-20 days are required to for blooming.
- Every day it flowers, same day we have to pollinate it .
- For the purpose of quality and lengthy beans we have to minimize the pollination and also flower bunches.
- Pollinated flower will grow and become vegetable beans like pod.
- It will mature at the age of 6-7 months.
- At maturity its colour will slightly change.
- Immediately daily basis we have to harvest that beens.
- The wet beens have no smell. After its systematic processing and limited drying it will release attractive aroma.
- Inside the beans there was very small oil type seeds.
- This is called Vanilin. Extracting this vanillin a lot of aromatic products are made.
Organic farming is good:
- What we have said earlier, most of the vines are prone to disease because of excess stress given for more yield and excess manuring.
- Where we find the survived vines they are not intensively cultivated.
- They used mainly organic manures like cow manure and other mild organic manures.
- In this experience intensive cultivation is not good for this crop.
Do you tasted vanilla flavored ice cream, soft drinks and any other edible items. Its original smell is extracted from this natural beans. All over the world this aroma require large quantity. But most of them are using synthetic flavors. If all are used or some percentage are used this, this crop will fech more than 50000 or more Rs. Per kilo gram. The most costlest spice in the world is Safron. But it is growing in selected places only. But this crop can be grown almost all humid climate areas and comparatively easy to grow.